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Traveling? Here's How to Choose the Best Camera

Traveling is a wonderful experience - and one that's best shared with others. Part of the fun of traveling is sharing your memories through photographs, either when you return home, or while you're still on the road via the web. For those who love to share photos of their travels, the right camera is as important a travel accessory as the best backpack or your passport. But choosing among the many kinds and styles of cameras available can be tricky. If you're getting ready to head out for a trip overseas, consider which factors are most important to you in choosing a camera for your travels.

Which Camera is Right for Me?

Cell phone cameras are convenient and fun for quick snapshots with your friends, but the picture quality you'll get with a cell phone camera is questionable at best. Unless you're planning to limit your picture-taking to quickly uploaded snapshots of friends and scenes, your cell phone camera probably won't cut it.

Point and shoot cameras, also known as compact digital cameras, are lightweight and easy to stash in a pocket. The picture quality of the cheapest compact digital cameras is better than all but the very best cell camera phones. For many travelers, compact point and shoot digital cameras are the ideal companion on a vacation, and many of them even have the capacity to upload your photos directly to your blog, Flickr or Facebook account.

If your photographs are important to you, you'll likely want to step up the range to EVF - electronic viewfinder - digital cameras that have better lenses, and take much better pictures. They're still small enough to pack for your trip and easy to carry, though they won't quite fit in your pocket. For all but the most dedicated picture takers, EVF digital cameras will fill their needs.

If you're a serious photographer, you'll want a good digital single lens reflex - dSLR - camera, which are the most expensive cameras with prices that can range up to thousands of dollars. They're also heavier, weighing several pounds, and are harder to carry with you if you're backpacking or doing major walking while sightseeing. But the pictures will be top quality, and the range of lenses and accessories will allow you to take magazine-quality photos for serious work.

Specialty Digital Cameras

Many top-of-the-line dSLR cameras are equipped with rangefinder lenses, which automatically measure the distance to the subject and adjust the lens so that every photograph is in sharp focus.

Digital camcorders allow you to capture digital video as well as still shots. They range in price from very inexpensive, with quality to match, to very expensive, with accessories and everything you need to take high-quality digital video of your travels.

Other Considerations

Travelers have several things to consider when choosing the best cameras for their needs. They include:

* Power source: If you're traveling overseas or in a remote area, you'll want a camera that operates on easily available batteries, such as standard AAAs. There's nothing worse than missing the shot of a lifetime because you've run out of batteries.

* Weight: If you're going to have to carry your camera on a backpacking trip or day trip with lots of walking, you'll start feeling its weight pretty quickly. Consider how much weight and space you want to give over to packing your photography equipment.

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